It’s that time of the year aback about every artery and nukkad in Mumbai is busy with flowers, and aflame with colourful lights and lanterns — with adorable idols of altered deities at the centre.
Last month, it was Lord Ganapati, and this ages it’s Durga Devi.
The deities are aesthetically fabricated with intricate details. The expressions of the eyes—gentle, soothing, smiling—in all deities is mesmerising. In fact, a ages afore the anniversary of Ganesh Chaturthi and Dussehra begin, the bylanes of Parel, Lalbaug, Girgaon and Prabhadevi, all suburbs of Mumbai, are annual a visit.
These places are accepted as karkhanas (small factories) of the murtis (idols), endemic by families like Khatu, Patkar, Kothekar, amid others. Aback asked permission to accommodated them, you are a that “Seth appointment gaye hain!” (The adept has gone to the office).
The catechism that promptly comes to one’s apperception is, “An idol maker and office?”
The acknowledgment to that lies in the actuality that best of the a owners are additional and third bearing idol-makers and the karkhanas were started by their grandfathers or fathers, with them continuing the legacy.
The present murtikars started arena with adobe and colours and fabricated baby idols during their adolescence in their ancestors karkhanas. The aboriginal bearing may not accept captivated jobs, but the present is active in banks, ad agencies, government offices, schools, ball industries and others.
“I deathwatch up at 6 am, and by 7 am, I ability my karkhana. I assignment till 9 am and leave for the office. Then, I acknowledgment from the appointment by 7-8 pm, and I am aback with my idols till midnight. I adulation authoritative idols. It’s my passion,” says 59-years-old Avinash Patkar. He works as a artist in the axial government’s Regional Design and Technical Development Centre in Mumbai.
Patkar’s daughter, Gautami, a business alum who additionally works as a analysis abettor with the Bodhana Arts and Analysis Foundation, helps him at the aiguille of the season. She and her mother advice acrylic the idols.
More than alive with adobe and PoP (Plaster of Paris) idols, Gautami prefers to assignment with paper-mache.
“Paper-mache-work is actual bulky and a continued process. And that’s why we don’t booty abounding orders,” says the 27-year-old girl, who is additionally advancing an avant-garde advance in personality development, and actually states that alike afterwards alliance (“when it happens,” she adds, cheekily), she will abide authoritative idols.
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The Patkars fabricated about 120 Ganapati idols and 13 Durga Devi idols this year, with alone ancestors associates actuality complex in the process. Besides Gautami and her mother, her uncle Aashish and his wife additionally participate.
Avinash says, “The eyes of our murtis are corrective by my sister-in-law, and they are so beautiful.”
A scriptwriter for ad agencies, accident administrator Reshma Khatu of the acclaimed Khatu Ganesh idols, says, “Continuing my father’s bequest afterwards his afterlife aftermost year was added important to me. From June to October, I am with my workers at our karkhana 24×7, except for the bristles canicule during my menstrual cycle. I mostly acrylic the idols and admonish my workers in authoritative the customised orders or the appropriate idols.”
Interestingly, it was the media advantage of the bequest of the Ganesh idols fabricated by the Khatus, afterward the afterlife of her father, Vijay Khatu, which aggressive Reshma. And almost three canicule afterwards his passing, she took up the reins.
“This is our ancestors legacy. I didn’t appetite to let it go. I stepped in to administer the workers, apprentice the intricacies of authoritative idols and my brother, Rohit, an autogenous decorator, started demography affliction of the accounts. My ancestor fabricated 200 Ganapati idols and 88 Devi idols. Alike two years afterwards his death, we haven’t absent a distinct customer, nor has any artisan larboard us,” says Reshma.
66-year-old Mohan Kothekar, aforetime alive with Shri Ram Mills till it closed, was in and out of his father’s karkhana back his childhood.
After his mother anesthetized and his ancestor couldn’t abide the business, Mohan took some time to apprentice the bigger aspects of the art and took over.
Today, he makes 200 Ganapati idols and six Durga Devi idols. Allowance him are his brothers and nephews who are contrarily active as accountants and annual managers in banks, or engineers and lab cadre in colleges.
Mohan Kothekar’s daughter, Pooja accelerating from J J School of Arts too. She active a activity as a Senior Associate in a PR company. Afterwards her adolescent babe grows up, Pooja too will resume allowance Mohan in authoritative idols.
He additionally explains the aberration amid the idols fabricated in West Bengal and Maharashtra.
The idols in Maharashtra accept softer features, which crave appropriate affliction to accomplish the aerial face and fingers.
The Bengali idols, on the added hand, are fabricated from a accurate adobe and dry grass. They accept the Goddess Maa Durga on a bobcat killing the demon Mahishasur, Lord Ganesh with Mushak sitting at his feet, Lord Karthikeyan with his peacock, Goddess Lakshmi with a lotus annual and Goddess Saraswati with a swan. The puja pandals are busy in absorbing ways, sometimes depicting accepted political or sports scenes, or featuring old temples.
Although anybody uses moulds to accomplish the idols, sometimes barter accomplish appropriate requests for specific features. “Some ask for Devi to be placed on a lotus flower, while others may appetite her to be built-in on a tiger, a bobcat or a peacock. For Ganapati, some ask for an IPL bays or the candid apple cup. The demands are endless. These things charge to be fabricated by hand, and the idols are priced high,” admits Kothekar.
Interestingly, none of the idol-makers capital to animadversion on their balance during the blithe season. They beam the question, saying, “The accumulation varies every year, as so abounding factors are involved–the amount of adobe and colours, the appoint of the bounds we hire, the labour charges, etc.”
More than the profit, it is their affection and their airy animosity that accumulate them complex in the art, they say, adding, “We feel appreciative that our ancestors is complex in article as pious as this!”
Doubling up as murtikars, these Mumbaikars who are contrarily active accept retained the tradition, the affection and the faculty of community, but they accept additionally brought a able blow to a idol making. For instance, the blueprint of anniversary idol and added adjustment capacity and blueprint are adored on the computer, so that there are no errors.
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Moreover, a absolute aspect of this assignment is that there are no delays in acquittal or cut-throat antagonism as may be accepted in added fields as it is “the assignment of God”.
Although some of the families accept been afterward this profession for generations, they don’t necessarily booty on added orders as continuing the affection of their idols is of foremost accent to them.
With the ascent demands of a growing population, there are new entrants in the business, who can apprentice the art from the veterans and curl alongside them.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
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